Page:Tales of old Lusitania.djvu/121

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107
THE PRINCE WHO HAD ASS'S EARS.

fiding to him so delicate a matter. At the same time, he feared the king would carry out his threat and put him to death; so for a time he kept his counsel. But every time he shaved the young prince, the secret he carried seemed to weigh heavier and heavier upon him, until he decided to consult a holy monk.

"Good father," said he, "a secret has been confided to me, which I have been forbidden to reveal, but if I keep it much longer and do not give it to some one else to keep, I shall surely die; yet, if I tell it, the king will put me to death. Tell me, father, what am I to do?"

The monk advised him to go to a lonely valley and dig a hole there, and confide the secret to the ground by repeating it until he found his mind relieved. Then he was to fill up the hole again with earth, and there it would remain deposited safely in the ground. The simple barber, following the friar's advice, took a spade and made a hole in a convenient spot, depositing his secret in the cavity he had made, and returned home much comforted and relieved in his mind.

Some time after this incident some reeds began to spring up in great abundance over the spot where the hole had been made, and as the shepherds passed the place with their flocks, they often paused to cut some reeds to make their musical pipes with. But, strange to relate, whenever the pandæan pipes made from these reeds were played upon, instead of notes and